The Dark Knight Rises' opening scene reminded me a lot of the opening scene of Dark Knight and put a bad taste in my mouth, as if this movie would end up being just a bigger version of Dark Knight and that Bane would feel too much like the Joker.
Fortunately, the movie ended up going in a different direction. Dark Knight was all about the Joker setting up his master plan, but never being able to follow it through (since he never fully breaks the spirit of Gotham's citizens, and Two Face gets covered up by Gordon). This movie, instead, focuses on the villain's master plan actually working! In essence, this movie follows up on Dark Knight by essentially establishing the version of Gotham City that Joker was striving for. Bane succeeds where the Joker failed. Bane throws Gotham into total isolated anarchy and breaks the spirit of its people the way that Joker just couldn't do. Rises offers apocalyptic spectacle that actually works! So many movies try to make the villain's plot too grandiose, and make the threat so immense, that the movie sort of falls apart and gets silly. In this case, however, the apocalyptic vision of Gotham works exceptionally well. [More]
I came across this article on National Geographic's website about a new XBox Live Kinect game being released by NASA called Mars Rover Landing. The game allows players to control the descent of a digital version of the real-life Curiosity Rover that is planned to land on Mars on August 5th at 10:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time.
The game itself is pretty short and pretty simple. It's a free, educational app intended for kids, so it's kind of hard for me to judge. I actually found myself more interested in the brief documentary materials that were included in the game. There's a few descriptions of the mission, the rover itself, and a video overviewing the mission as a whole. It's not anything too terribly detailed or technical, but again, it's intended for kids. So if you're a mechanical engineer and want to know about the inner workings of the rover, then you're going to have to look somewhere else. [More]
Matt Forte (and fans) should be smiling after he signed a 4-year deal.
Bears players left and right are stating in interviews that they think this year's Bears team is going to be great. Recently, receiver Earl Bennett said in an interview that he thinks the Bears are the best team in the NFC North. Other players have expressed similar thoughts over the summer. Pro Bowl linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher have both stated in interviews this year that the 2012 Bears team is the best team they've been on, and that includes the Bears' 2006 SuperBowl run!
So are these sentiments even remotely accurate? Or are the players just a bit overconfident?
Well, in my humble opinion (as a Bears' fan), these players have every right to be excited about their team this year! [More]
Last night was a scary night.
Around 10:30 pm, there was a rather sudden downpour of heavy monsoon rain and hail in my area of town. It was coming down hard and fast. When I noticed that the rain had quickly flooded my back yard, I went into a panic.
As some of you may recall, I took in a baby tortoise that I had found crossing the street outside my house last August. I've been keeping him (I don't actually know the gender yet, but I'll use the pronoun "him" for simplicity) as a pet ever since, I dug a burrow for him on the side of the house, and I have named him Koopa. In the past year, Koopa has become quite adept at hiding under bushes in my yard and, surprisingly, at climbing walls.
Koopa the tortoise (summer, 2012).
Well, as I noticed the backyard filling with flood waters (it only took a few minutes), I started to worry about little Koopa and whether or not his burrow was staying dry. We had never had rains like this since I found Koopa, so I had no idea how well the burrow would hold up. In an adreneline-fueled panic, I grabbed a flashlight and a jacket and ran into the backyard. My heart immediately sank when I saw that not only had Koopa's burrow flooded, but that it was already full-to-the rim with water.
I quickly scanned around the area with the flashlight in the hopes that Koopa had escaped the burrow before it filled, but found no trace of him outside. Fearing that Koopa must be trapped inside, I threw off my watch and reached my hand into the burrow. It was like reaching my hand into a clogged toilet, the water was so deep. I found Koopa's body only halfway down the hole, and my heart sunk even deeper as I pulled him out. [More]
I have to say that I was impressed with how quick a 2 hour and 16 minute movie could feel. The Amazing Spider-Man is slightly shorter than The Avengers, but it is just about as well-paced. Despite being stuck with another telling of Spider-Man's origin, the movie manages to keep things moving along without getting boring. It does this by offering a very different version of the characters and events leading up to Peter's transformation into Spider-Man. But it lacks the same emotional impact that the first movie had and ends up feeling a bit more sloppy.
First and foremost, Andrew Garfield is not your father's Peter Parker. He's much more confident and outgoing, as well as being tall and handsome. I would even go so far as to say that he comes off as being cocky. As such, he doesn't quite live up to the socially-outcast-nerd identity that most fans assume. Garfield's Peter Parker does, however, express his techie, intellectual side much better than Tobey's previous interpretation of the character. Even before Peter is spider-bitten, we see him inventing unique tools and gadgets, manipulating photos for the school paper, and offering Uncle Ben suggestions for fixing a leaking washing machine.
A major point of the movie's early plot is the mysterious disappearance of Peter's parents. Richard Parker's work in genetics is something that apparently got him in trouble with some unreputable individuals, and he and his wife Mary had to leave Peter with Ben and May and run away. When Peter learns that his father used to work with Curtis Connors at Oscorp, he sneaks into Oscorp in order to find out what they were working on. It is here that he wanders into a room containing the experimental spiders that give him his powers. Despite his intelligence, and fondness for science and technology, he just starts playing around with stuff in the lab. You'd think a smart guy like him would know better, but whatever. [More]